So everyone can be a hero.
Accessibility professionals exist – but digital and document accessibility is not the work of one person alone, it is something all of us can help with. This list focuses not on wider issues of inclusion and representation, but the list items focus on ensuring that websites, game books, supplements, and adventures are made accessible to the widest variety of people, using standards that should be industry-wide (should, because they often unfortunately get ignored and the disparities increase…) as a “floor”, and more.
Use these resources as a way to get started! While this list of resources is free, feel free to support me on Ko-fi if you find this list useful, or contact me if I can work with you in more detail. I can also be found on Mastodon.
- What Is Accessibility?
- Web Accessibility
- Document Creation and Formatting Accessibility
- Safety Tools and Self Care
- Contact A Professional
Digital accessibility is often defined by “making websites and electronic documents usable to people with disabilities”.
But this is where many folk, upon hearing about accessibility, start wondering – or saying they don’t know anyone disabled, or anyone who needs the features, or it’s not worthwhile. But many features considered accessibility improvements or features ALSO help with usability: curb cuts, those ramps on sidewalk intersections, are the classic example of this in a physical environment, so you might hear about the “curb cut effect”. You can read more about “the Curb Cut Effect” at “The Curb Cut Effect: How universal design makes things better for everyone” essay by Emma Sheridan.
Disability does not necessarily mean only “receiving governmental disability benefit”. Disability is a mismatch between a person and their environment. Therefore, when we talk of disability, it encompasses conditions relating to aging (conditions like arthritis, joint pain, vision issues), just as it can encompass situations like dyslexia, autism, joint pain, arthritis, vision issues (such as needing zoom or clarity as to what image goes with what text section), healing from sickness or surgery, avoiding conditions like migraines or dizziness or even distractions, and more. Think about virtual assistants like Siri or Alexa, or the Mac’s pinch-zoom feature, or changing the light of your screen when in bright glare or to avoid migraines; many people use these features without necessarily thinking of themselves as having a disability. For more on what accessibility, disability, and what we mean by these, please refer to the Microsoft Inclusive Design Toolkit which has more information on designing for multiple perspectives – using tools many people ALREADY have.
Not Sure Where to Start?
For an introduction to using keyboard controls and who uses them, check out the Web Accessibility Initiative video on keyboard controls: (YouTube) WAI – Keyboard Compatibility video
Not familiar with screen reader software? Not sure who uses them or how they work? Deque Systems has a video introducing screen readers, what they are, and examples of how they work to enable people to use computers, mobile phones, websites, checking email, and more: (YouTube) Deque – Introduction to Screen Readers
There is also a great resource discussing accessibility and inclusion specifically with regard to tabletop with other links – also about safety tools – on the D&D Compendium. Do not view the Compendium as competing: we’re all in this together.
Websites and Social Media
- WCAG 2.2 Working Draft from the World Wide Web Consortium: WCAG are the industry standard guidelines informing web accessibility. They’re from the same organization that coordinates the HTML guidelines, for example – the World Wide Web Consortium.
- Overlay Fact Sheet: and why overlays, plugins, and “quick fix” promises of “being compliant/accessible with one line of code” do more harm than good.
- Worried about time and expense? There are simple tests that can get you started on accessibility that anyone can do. TetraLogical has a playlist of short videos with transcripts on how you can get started with checking for common issues.
- Accessible Social: a free resource hub to learn about alt-text, clear writing, hashtag interaction with accessibility, and make sure your social media posts, Discord, Slack posts, etc are more usable and accessible!
- A11y Project Checklist – uses WCAG but presents the information in an easy-to-understand manner, for reminders to check (for web designers, programmers, etc).
Manuscripts and More (Text, PDFs, InDesign, etc)
- Google Docs/Support: Make your document or presentation more accessible in GSuite
- Creating accessible documents within Microsoft Word via Microsoft Help Topics
- Video training on creating accessible documents, emails, and more within Microsoft Office (Microsoft)
- PDF Accessibility: Defining PDF Accessibility and Techniques by WebAIM
- Accessible PDF Tutorials by Michigan State University
- InDesign accessibility tips via Adobe
- InDesign Accessibility Quick Reference via Deque Systems
- YouTube: Creating Accessible PDFs with Adobe InDesign CC
- Top Tips for Accessibility for EPUB format via Benetech/DIAGRAM Center
- Kerning: An Introduction for Designers by Adobe
- Virtual Readability Lab
- YouTube: Top 10 PDF Accessibility Errors and How To Fix Them (with captions) by Dax Castro
Safety Tools and Self-Care
Implementing in Content
- Annemieke’s (Small) List of Trigger Warnings You Can Use
- Sly Flourish (of “the Lazy DM” fame)’s video on X-Card, Lines and Veils, and Script Change safety tools (YouTube)
- X-Card tool document by John Stavropoulos
- Script Change by Beau Jagr Sheldon (Thoughty Games has a Ko-fi link!)
Resources on Diversity and Inclusion
- I Need Diverse Games (nonprofit about representation and diversity in gaming)
- Take This (nonprofit about mental health in and around gaming)
- Resources about Mental Health and Suicide Prevention via Jasper’s Game Day
- The Bodhana Group (nonprofit advocating use of tabletop gaming as part of directed professional therapy; also does the Save Against Fear convention)
- AbleGamers – combating social isolation through play (nonprofit about disability inclusion and accessibility in gaming)
Contact a Professional for Tabletop Accessibility
Developers, designers, writers – everyone can play a part in improving accessibility. However, if this seems too overwhelming for you, you have specific questions about accessibility for your project, or you wish to devise more of a strategy for repeated titles, or you want to make sure to get advanced tools (testing with screen reader compatibility, doing more extensive checks), please use the contact form or contact me via email.